Sunday, October 01, 2006

Church Times: Kigali's Decision a "Schismatic Act"

The Church Times offers some commentary on the Kigali Communique. After pointing out the unusual depiction of the disaster in Rwanda, blaming it on "fate" and the abandonment of the rest of the world instead of addressing any of the root causes, we find the following:

...a determination to "stand against evil" is not a normal starting point for discussions about the better working of the Church Catholic. It helps to explain the Primates' antagonistic stance towards the leadership of the Episcopal Church in the United States, though this is cloaked as a willingness to respond to those inside the US who have asked for outside assistance and oversight. But, however explicable, the decision to set up a parallel organisation in an existing province - unbidden - is a schismatic act; for what is a "separate ecclesiastical structure" but a Church?

The Kigali Primates speak of proceeding "in consultation with the instruments of unity in the Communion". This is a perverse idea in the circumstances. None of those instruments - the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates' Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Lambeth Conference - could countenance such a move. It is possible that the Global South Primates believe the US Episcopal leadership to be so discredited that the rest of the Communion will allow a new organisation to take its place as the official Anglican body there. It is more likely that they are not particularly interested in seeking permission...
If it looks like schism, and smells like schism...


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